Night Must Fall opens with the horrific death of a young woman at the hands of Danny, a hotel bellboy. After Danny murders the woman with an axe, he quickly and quietly disposes of her body in a nearby lake. Needing a place to lie low for awhile, Danny introduces himself to Mrs. Bramson, a widow and next-door neighbor to the deceased. Mrs. Bramson quickly gives into Danny's charms, inviting him to stay in her home to help with maintenance around the house. Karel Reisz's Night Must Fall is a creepy and effective horror thriller which attempts to transport the viewer into the mind of a man with psychopathic tendencies. Danny is not presented as a stone-cold killer but a man who walks the line between self-aware and confused in dealing with his psychosis. My favorite scenes in this film are when Danny is alone in his room. These are the scenes in which the viewer is given a window into Danny's psyche, showing the confused and horrifying nature of his mental state. We see a man who is menacing and down-right horrifying yet scared at the same time. Danny is a character that just exudes tension, giving the viewer very little indication as to when or if he will ultimately snap into a blood lust. Albert Finney really is fantastic in this film as Danny, playing him in an incredibly charming way which ultimately makes him much more terrifying. He charms the pants off of every woman in the household from Mrs. Bramson, who is clearly looking for any sort of company, to her daughter and the family maid. The maid, daughter, and widow are all missing something in their lives and the film spends the time necessary to develop each of these woman making their growing infatuation with Danny completely believable. From a visual perspective Night Must Fall is fantastic, featuring great tracking shots, compositions and the best usage of zooms I have possibly ever seen. With an intense score and impressive cinematography, Karel Reisz's Night Must Fall is a tense and rather unique thriller examining both the mind of a psychopath as well as his victims.
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